Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Market, To Market

On Saturday mornings I like to shop at our local farmer's market. Most of the food is locally grown and I want to support the farmers who work so hard to provide the fresh fruit and vegetables sold there. Especially this summer with the record heat and drought that totally wiped out my garden (except maybe my sweet potatoes--haven't tried pulling them up yet).
I try to get to the market early to beat the crowds. There's a lot to choose from, but on this trip I bought flowers, lettuce, cucumbers, peaches, tomatoes and zucchini.

Last year at this time I was baking zucchini bread like crazy trying to keep up with the output of my two plants and I've missed doing that this year. So I used the zucchini and some of the blueberries we bought on our recent trip to Michigan to try a new recipe for Zucchini Blueberry Bread.
2 Cups Grated Zucchini
2 Cups Blueberries
3 eggs
3 cups flour, 1 T cinnamon, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda
Here's the changes I made to the recipe that appears on I salted the zucchini and let it sit for about 20 minutes, then squeezed out the excess liquid. I decreased the sugar to one cup and made that half brown sugar, half white. I'd probably use a tiny bit more sugar next time because the blueberries at this time of year are a little more tart. I used 1 cup unbleached flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup oat flour. I didn't have applesauce on hand or I would have replaced some of the oil with that. Here's the result:
I grate the zucchini by hand and last year I asked DH to grate it for me. He really put his muscles into it and the zucchini came out in pretty big chunks instead of the usual shreds. I should have put it on the cutting board and chopped it up a little, but I unwisely went with it as is and ended up with chunky zucchini bread.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Changing Seasons

When DH and I travel he likes to do the driving and I pass the time sewing and reading and admiring the countryside. I usually manage to pack along a penny rug project but on the last couple of trips I've tried doing counted cross-stitch. It can be a bit challenging getting the needle in the correct hole, especially on the bumpier roads, but I was happy with the progress I made on my latest piece, another Blackbird Designs pattern. With the work I was able to do during the trip I should be able to complete this by Halloween!
The blob on the lower right is actually the beginning of a jack-o-lantern and the verse refers to its gleam. There are so many wonderful fall and Halloween patterns that I'd love to tackle, but since my upcoming shows takes place just before and after Halloween, I know I'll need to start working on some Christmas designs soon. Here's what I found at Old Mill Stitchery in Liberty, Missouri, when we stopped there on the way home from Michigan.
Lovely Overdyed Linen!

The quaint building that houses the stitchery shop also has shops selling beads, yarn, wool, rug hooking patterns and an antiques store. Kind of a one-stop shop for lovers of all things primitive.
Footstool with velvet cushion

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Left a Piece of My Heart in Michigan...

and my purse in Illinois. We just returned from delivering Mark to Michigan for another year of school. I'm so glad he was home for most of the summer, but yesterday as we were shopping for some necessities in Meijers in Grand Rapids and I realized we would only be together another hour or so my stomach just sank. The saving grace is that he's happy there and doing well.  Now the purse part...
On the way out we stopped for lunch in Illinois. About four hours later I suddenly realized that I had more room than usual around my feet in our tightly packed car and start scrambling around looking for my purse, only to realize I left it at Wendy's in Springfield. DH was about as shaken as I was but pulled into a rest stop, looked up the number for the restaurant and called, saying a prayer that someone had turned it in. And, hooray, employee Josh found it and locked it away in the manager's office. As you can see from my photo, we're not talking about a little, easy-to-overlook bag, but I still managed to turn and walk out of the restaurant without it. Here's the weird part---this is the third time I've forgotten a purse and the other two times have been when we've visited our older son at college in Colorado. I noticed the loss much sooner those times, but I've left it in the Olive Garden and a Wendy's there, too. So is this a strange psychological thing that I do as a physical manifestation of the loss I feel when facing a separation from my sons? Or maybe I'm just preoccupied with getting to our destination and more forgetful than usual. We returned to the restaurant late yesterday on our way home and I was so relieved to retrieve my purse and find everything intact inside. They wouldn't let me leave a tip, but I'm writing Wendys to commend Josh and the rest of the team at the restaurant.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Rain Has Come!

Oh my, has it ever. I've been whining here about our hot, dry summer, but all that changed abruptly about a week ago. We've had three storms go through and it seems like Mother Nature is intent on giving us the rain we've been missing for the past couple of months. 
This was taken as I was on my way to work at noon last Friday. Then we had overnight storms with strong winds two nights in a row. We awoke one day to our trellis and these heavy, concrete planters blown over.  

I've pretty much given up on my summer vegetable garden and pulled up everything but two of the sickly looking tomato plants and my sweet potatoes and replanted with lettuce, spinach, cabbage & cauliflower. I haven't done a fall veggie garden before, but have heard it's a little less challenging once the plants are established.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A True Hero

This is off topic from my usual postings, but this week a memorial service for one of the Navy Seals killed recently in Afghanistan was held at the church. Three of the men killed in the crash were from our area. One was only 21 years old, the same age as my younger son. I take so many things for granted, especially the freedom we enjoy here. I can't say how grateful I am to those who serve in the military and their families for their sacrifices. The Bible verse on the cover below is John 15:13: "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Simply Primitives Sneak Peak

We finally got a break in the heat wave here in Kansas! I couldn't wait to open the windows again and get some fresh air in the house. The drought continues, though, and it's taken a toll on lawns, trees and bushes. I'm sure we'll have to replace several bushes this fall. While we enjoy these nice, cooler summer days, though, I'm thinking ahead to fall and have been working on a couple of seasonal things for Simply Primitives. Here's a sneak peak of a penny rug I'll be offering. 
I'm also working on a witch-cat make-do thingy and thinking it's about time for another giveaway, so stay tuned.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Our Extreme Morning

I rousted my night owl son out of bed early Thursday to do our part on the Extreme Makeover home currently under construction. This home is for an Iraq war veteran who was nearly killed by a roadside bomb and now (understandably) suffers from severe PTSD. The home is in a rural area outside of a small town about 45 minutes south of Kansas City's outer-belt.
We were very lucky that rain had moved in and our ridiculous heat wave finally broke. We had signed up for the painting shift, but, as you can imagine the framing went slower than expected due to the heat which left the project behind schedule. We were happy to help any way needed so we just did a variety of odd jobs mostly around the outside of the house.
Carefully Labeled Paint is Ready for Use!
We didn't spend much time inside the house and I didn't take any photos. There was a swarm of mostly professional builders working feverishly inside and I didn't want to get in anyone's way trying to get a photo of the activity. But everyone was very nice and the outpouring of support was amazing. While hanging out in the volunteer holding tent between tasks we chatted with neighbors of the family, other church groups and a group who came from Whiteman Air Force base to support a fellow military family. 
Love the Barn-Like Design!
There's a lot of work left to do but the home will be beautiful when it's done and I hope the family will be able to find some peace and comfort in knowing the care and support that went into building their new home.
Kitchen Wing

Monday, August 1, 2011

Weekend Work

Well, you know from my previous post that my garden isn't doing too great this year. My geraniums usually are suffering a bit by this time anyway, but I've found that if I repot them in late August and trim them back by about half they'll rebloom and look great until the frost gets them. Until then, I'll have to settle for the wool version.
This ridiculous pattern by Primitive Gatherings features 10 individual flowers in each geranium. Luckily, I actually enjoy the tracing and cutting out part of a project so I didn't really mind cutting out the 80 teeny, tiny little buds. A little sick, I know, but that's how it is.
In addition to staying inside and working and stitching, this week son Mark and I will be helping with the construction of an extreme makeover house! And they actually encourage us to take photos so I'll post about our experience in a few days. Can you believe they are building an entire house in a week? God bless all the people helping out with the building process--our extreme heat wave continues and we'll have temps well about 100 degrees today and tomorrow. We'll be working inside and I'm selfishly hoping the air conditioner is working by the time we report on Wednesday.